Self-Management

Shattering Change

We’ve been there. Many of us too often.

Our employer announces a major organizational change. Seeking more efficiencies. Slashing resources. Merging business functions. Eliminating others. Right-sizing.

Sure, you believe in continuous improvement. But your first reaction is This sucksBig time. And it’s not just a thought. You get this steady pinch in the pit of your stomach. Your chest and shoulders feel tight and tense. Headaches at night. It doesn’t feel good.

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relaxation
claim attention

Attention, says Chris Hayes, the moderator of MSNBC’s “All In” program, is the scarcest commodity of the 21st century.

True. In her book “Reclaiming Conversation,” Sherry Turkle writes eloquently about the differences between deep attention and hyper-attention. Hyper-attention is a fractured attention in which we rapidly zip from one point of focus to the next. You and I know. Googling. Tweeting. Facebooking. Instagramming. Activities like skimming and scanning are often associated with fractured attention. Popular claims notwithstanding, hyper-attention does not equal sustained retention.

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Revealing the truth results in success

When someone asks you a direct question about something potentially embarrassing, is it best to tell the truth or better to withhold information?

The findings on this matter by Leslie K. John, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, are enlightening. They match what many of us, on a gut level, know to be true but often find difficult to practice. John’s research, via a series of 7 compromising scenarios, divides folks into “revealers” and “hiders.”

Down the line, revealers fared better than hiders. They did so in startling ways.

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authentic leadership

Two separate conversations, same week.

Each chat is with a CEO who talks to me about a person that reports to him. I have been working with each of these reports.

As we talk, it is evident that each CEO desires the exact same thing for his charge.

I want him to be more authentic.

Authentic is a problematic word. Like many buzz words, we have over-used it until we’ve sucked the oxygen out of it. Let me translate. This is what, I believe, both CEOs were saying. I want him to be less polite, less cautious, play it less safe. I want to hear what he really thinks.

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Leadership Talks

It sounds a bit clinical, I know. But it’s a game-changer in how we conduct a business conversation.

Our talk ratio.

It quantifies how much you or I talk, how much the other person talks in a conversation. Forget about the substance of the conversation, for a moment (mind you, I believe in substance!!!). Let’s keep it basic. In a conversation, what percentage of the time do you talk, what percentage of the time does the other person talk?

If you have an 80/20 ratio, you likely talk too much.

If you have a 20/80 ratio, you likely talk too little.

But it depends entirely on the other person and the situation! you protest. It does – but not quite as much as you think!

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Pep Talk

Pep talks annoy the heck out of me.

As I skim an article on pep talks (ugggh) I realize that the phrase pep talk doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. Sports coaches give pep talks. Motivational speakers give pep talks. Some religious leaders give pep talks. That means you fire people up, right?

Those fire-them-up leaders quickly morph into a caricature of themselves. Canned pep. Fake hope.

Then I get to thinking.

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influence business options
mirroring behavior

Successful people know how to mirror. They mirror consciously. They mirror well.

The power of mirroring has been keenly on my mind in the aftermath of the Parkland shootings in Florida. I was touched by the extravagant range of human and activist responses, and I found myself remembering a response to the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, two years back, that had richly moved me. It is a sublime tale of mirroring. It took place on a JetBlue flight that carried the grandmother of Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, one of the club-goers that got killed in the shootings, to Orlando to attend Luis’ funeral.

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writers block

You know you’re smart. You know on any given day you’re able to figure it out. But today, just for today, your brain is going on strike. Can’t process another piece of information. Can’t look at one more spread-sheet. Can’t listen to one more scintillating idea.

Mental fatigue. Shut-down. Brain-dead.

In an article titled “The Science of Fitness,” 

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